Two Dearborn Residents Arrested
in Counterfeit Air Bag Probe
DETROIT -Two Metro Detroit residents face criminal charges following their arrests Monday during an enforcement action targeting an alleged counterfeit air bag trafficking scheme, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade and Special Agent in Charge Brian Moskowitz, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)
Agents from HSI arrested Samar Ayoub, of Dearborn Heights, Mich., and Hussein Jomaa, of Dearborn, Mich, who will be making their initial appearances in federal court this afternoon. Both are charged in a criminal complaint with knowingly trafficking counterfeit merchandise. The arrests follow a nearly two-year investigation by HSI special agents.
According to the affidavit, which was unsealed today after their arrests, Jomaa purchased Honda-branded air bags and other Honda trademark-infringing items from Ayoub late last year. Jomaa, the general manager of Eagle Auto on Detroit's northwest side, indicated he purchased the air bags and other counterfeit parts for vehicles destined for Africa. Ayoub is alleged to have purchased the air bags and other items from a manufacturer in China.
HSI special agents have seized approximately 73 counterfeit air bags as part of this investigation.
The arrests come after a joint announcement Oct. 10 by ICE and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) warning consumers of the grave dangers associated with the use of counterfeit air bags.
“Counterfeit auto parts like air bags not only violate intellectual property laws, they also create a serious safety risk to consumers”, McQuade said.
"No driver or passenger of any car should ever have to think twice that their airbags won't work or may actually harm them when they need them most" said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge for HSI Detroit. "Detroit introduced the automotive world to the passenger airbag in 1973 and it has saved countless lives over the years and HSI is committed to doing everything we can to keep dangerous counterfeit and substandard safety equipment from entering the marketplace and our cars."
Trafficking in counterfeit merchandise carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.
A complaint contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Intellectual Property Rights Center (IRP), who assisted in the investigation, is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting, piracy and commercial fraud. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft and commercial fraud. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and our war fighters. For more information on the IPR Center please visit www.IPRCenter.gov.